THE Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr John Gyetuah, has stressed the strategic importance of the Brong Ahafo Region to the government in particular and Ghanaians in general since the region is “the bread basket” of the country.
He gave the assurance that the government would do all it could to provide a conducive macro-economic environment, reliable infrastructure as well as peaceful and stable political atmosphere, to ensure that business thrives in the region.
Mr Gyetuah said this at the opening ceremony of the the Brong Ahafo at 50 Trade and Investment Fair, dubbed “Dwa Kesse 2009” at the Jubilee Park in Sunyani, the regional capital.
The week-long fair, which started on October 22 and ends on October 29, this year, is aimed at attracting local and foreign investors not only to do business in the region, but also to add value to the abundant food and cash crops, as well as other natural resources the region is endowed with.
The fair also forms part of activities marking the 50th anniversary celebration of the creation of the region.
The event is on the theme: ”Brong Ahafo at 50: Achievements, challenges and prospects.”
There are about 500 exhibitors in the agricultural, mining, textiles and garments, wood works, telecommunications and banking industries.
Herbal medicine practitioners are as well taking part in the fair, which is also being used to promote indigenous businesses.
Mr Gyetuah said with the support of its Italian counterpart, the government had secured a 20-million Euro credit facility under the Ghana Private Sector Development Fund to assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country desirous of procuring equipment and services from Italian suppliers.
The facility, Mr Gyetuah said, formed part of the government’s support designed to build the capacity of MSMEs in the country and could easily be used to acquire technology for agro-processing fields in which Italy was quite competitive.
Mr Gyetuah further disclosed that the government had under the Business Development Services (BDS) Fund made available $4.5 million for disbursement to industry as matching grants to procure the services of technical and management experts to help MSMEs to improve on their productivity and performance.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, reiterated that the Golden Jubilee celebration of the creation of the region had been packaged to attract investments to the region, create more jobs, initiate projects and mobilise human and material resources to propel the socio-economic development of the region.
He said the fair was also to equip the citizens, especially the youth, to exhibit their creative skills, showcase the industrial and tourism potential of the region and use the fair as a rallying point for unity, cohesion and development to attract investors.
The regional minister said as a result of lack of jobs in the region, a large number of the youth regularly migrated to other countries, with most of them using the desert, where some of them died.
The Vice President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Yaw Kagbrese, who chaired the ceremony, gave the assurance that Nananom were ready to release land for investments in the region as a way of helping to propel its socio-economic development.
He said the region was endowed with untapped natural resources such as mineral deposits, timber and fertile land for the production of food and cash crops.
He, therefore, urged local and foreign investors to take advantage of them to invest in the region with the view to adding value to those resources.